The Hardline Approach

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PaigeB
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Re: The Hardline Approach

Post by PaigeB » Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:50 am

I think they just do it because they are hardline at heart or have just learnt that’s the right way do it.
I am not talking about the Steps when I say "take what you want and leave the rest."

In this thread we are saying there IS a type of AA or a personality type that is incorrect. Right & wrong? Who am I to judge? I recall there was a fella who always sat in the same chair and pretty much talked about the same thing. He would relate how his sponsor who tell him to take the cotton out of his ears and put it in his mouth. He laughed when he talked about all the signs on the walls that his sponsor walked through with him, explaining them. At the sign Think Think Think his sponsor paused a little long, waved at the sign and walked away saying, "That one isn't for you!" I do not know if he was joking or not. But I can tell you this story whether my sponsor was hardliner or not... I heard it in a meeting from a hardliner - "Think Think Think" wasn't always a good idea. And it was NOT a good idea for me! AND that cotton in my mouth part? I didn't think that applied to me at all - until I was 9 years sober that is... I thought of that fella when my sponsor told me to put my hand over my mouth once in awhile! I wish I had listened to that hardliner more often ~ and earlier!

This program is not about my wittle feelies - feelings are not facts.
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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Re: The Hardline Approach

Post by shaunagus » Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:12 pm

Brock wrote: we have a situation of people thinking AA works because people get ‘support’ in meetings, everything these days seems to center around emotional support, especially in so called first world countries...Why shouldn’t I come to your AA meeting and say how terrible my day was, so you can all be supportive with a pat on the back, and reassure me that all will be OK, never-mind that I have been in AA for years, and should be depending on a higher power instead of people.

There surely is a middle ground to be found with just a little common sense, and I agree that the Big Book is a good example of that. Tough and straight forward where it’s needed, and encouraging and supportive in other places.
I agree with this, that AA isn’t a support group or group therapy. I think tv/movies have a lot to do with this because you tend to see AA when a character on a show is sharing their feelings, they rarely show shares about stepwork, the nature of the illness etc. I went looking for movies that showed a more realistic side of AA when I came in and I’m glad that in the meetings in my area and in here there is a real focus on the incomprehensible demoralisation (love that phrase) rather than group therapy. Sometimes someone will share a particularly tough time, but they will also share their ESH and how the programme has helped or is helping or how they hope it will help. There is support but I agree not a support group in that sense.

I think ‘how to do AA’ is a learning curve. Newcomers learn from the meetings they attend how to share, what meetings are for etc or get guidance from sponsors or others. The meetings here are v different from the meetings in the city I lived in before. I’ve been to meetings in several countries having been able to travel a lot since getting sober and it varies from country to country too - but there are core similarities. In one meeting there were timed shares. In another no main chair. In another talk of other addictions was fine. And so on...so what newcomers learn about ‘how to do AA’ varies too.

Just as I learned how to ‘do AA’ I learned how to take what I like and leave the rest. I learned to put principles before personalities etc etc. I definitely didn’t walk into AA able to. I do believe it is about our feelings up to a point by which I mean that at my first meeting round here people knew how I was feeling as I walked into the room because they had felt it too. In that sense it is about feelings. Alcoholics are sensitive people, newcomers don’t have the benefit of having worked a programme right the second they walk through the door and may be especially sensitive. I don’t think that means we should mollycoddle them and never dare mention the nature of our illness and the way to recover, or that we should let them forevermore talk about their feelings in meetings and never move on to sharing about the programme, but I certainly would give them some slack at the beginning.

In my first meeting with my sponsor he talked about his experience with alcohol, how the disease manifested in him and invited me to identify. Identifying with another alcoholic is about ‘feeling’. He didn’t lecture me, browbeat me or demand anything of me he just shared his story, I listened and I heard and felt his story because in so many ways it was mine too. He ground it in the big book, emphasising how his story chimed with the Drs opinion etc. It made sense to me. My understanding of the big book’s way of working with others is just that - telling something of our story and seeing if a prospect identifies then explaining the way the illness works in a way that s/he can relate to rather than rushing straight in with a list of demands or 'you musts' or 'you better or else f*** off'. They’re called 'suggestions' because AA founders knew that telling alcoholics “you must” is a recipe for disaster.

I do think maybe there is a difference in what different folk think of as “hardliners”. When I use that phrase I don’t mean that a hardliner is someone who shares the truth about alcoholism - my sponsor did and so did many/most in the meetings and I don’t think of him/them as hardliner and I apply that to just about everyone on this forum who gives service (ie not hardliners in the way I mean although they may think of themselves like that - I mostly see wise, compassionate people here; it’s why I used it so much when I got sober and why I’m back.

For me when I use the word hardliner I use it to mean someone who barks an ultimatum at a newcomer etc, gets into p***ing contests on who has drunk the most/done the worst and judges others as not being real alcoholics if they haven’t drunk as much/done the same things (there were a couple when I first tried this forum 14 years ago) and then acts like a broken alcoholic is in the wrong for having feelings that might force them away.

I’m sure there are many who judge the newcomer who doesn’t come back as not being ready to face the truth, as that newcomer maybe drinks themselves to an early grave or takes disastrous action on their feelings. I guess the middle ground for me is tell the truth about alcoholism, but tell it with a bit of humility and compassion. Which I have to say is how I find the vast, vast majority of people in AA meetings and just about everyone on here.
“I am a seeker, a poor sinful creature, there is no weaker than I am,” Dolly Parton

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Re: The Hardline Approach

Post by Layne » Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:13 pm

When I share, if I stick strictly to my ESH, a label such as hardline (or whatever) can't really be applied. When I stray from my ESH into talking about what other people do, should do, don't do, or shouldn't do, etc., then a label can be easily applied.

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Re: The Hardline Approach

Post by Greywolf » Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:50 pm

I saw a post someone had made about a quiet older lady who turned up for her first meeting and in that meeting lots of people were swearing and the person writing this post noticed (he felt) that she seemed uncomfortable. She never came back. It made me reconsider.
I'm happy you reconsidered (whether the woman never came back for this reason or not) and stopped cursing at meetings.

An occasional swear word doesn't bother me. I far prefer the person sharing their experience, strength and hope to be attentive to the content of the share and not whether or not an occasional swear or even commonly used vulgarity slips out.

Oh, and the worst I've heard was out of a woman's mouth.
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PaigeB
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Re: The Hardline Approach

Post by PaigeB » Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:33 am

:lol: :lol: :lol:
Oh, and the worst I've heard was out of a woman's mouth.
What doesn't kill me makes me vicious! (This is actually the chorus of a new rock song ~ by a girl :wink: )
:lol: :mrgreen: :lol: :evil: :lol: :lol: :P :mrgreen:
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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Re: The Hardline Approach

Post by Jojo2 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:00 am

There surely is a middle ground to be found with just a little common sense, and I agree that the Big Book is a good example of that. Tough and straight forward where it’s needed, and encouraging and supportive in other places.


I don’t think that means we should mollycoddle them and never dare mention the nature of our illness and the way to recover, or that we should let them forevermore talk about their feelings in meetings and never move on to sharing about the programme, but I certainly would give them some slack at the beginning.

In my first meeting with my sponsor he talked about his experience with alcohol, how the disease manifested in him and invited me to identify. Identifying with another alcoholic is about ‘feeling’. He didn’t lecture me, browbeat me or demand anything of me he just shared his story.

My understanding of the big book’s way of working with others is just that - telling something of our story and seeing if a prospect identifies then explaining the way the illness works in a way that s/he can relate to rather than rushing straight in with a list of demands or 'you musts' or 'you better or else f*** off'. They’re called 'suggestions' because AA founders knew that telling alcoholics “you must” is a recipe for disaster.


I guess the middle ground for me is tell the truth about alcoholism, but tell it with a bit of humility and compassion
Absolutely.

I have really enjoyed reading the thought provoking shares on this topic.

“Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean”.. is one of my favourite slogans.

It is important to me to be clear, direct and consistent, to use positive language and to focus on the solution rather the problem.

Whenever possible, framing comments in the “we” rather than the “you” helps to distance the individual from any implied or perceived criticism or demands.

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Re: The Hardline Approach

Post by avaneesh912 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:25 pm

“Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean”.. is one of my favourite slogans.
Thats a great way to transmit the message of AA. We share the grave nature of the disease and if the person who suffers realizes it, he/she will seek power. Thats my approach. I spend quiet a bit of time with un-manageability and show the prospect how it leads us back into the blank spots. If he/she is convinced of the futility of their way of living, they will pick up the simple kit of the spiritual tools. Just like Bill states on page 25.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: The Hardline Approach

Post by D'oh » Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:46 pm

Absolutely.

I have really enjoyed reading the thought provoking shares on this topic.

“Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean”.. is one of my favourite slogans.

It is important to me to be clear, direct and consistent, to use positive language and to focus on the solution rather the problem.

Whenever possible, framing comments in the “we” rather than the “you” helps to distance the individual from any implied or perceived criticism or demands.
Exactly! Every "Successful 12th Step" I have made has started with the 3rd Step Prayer.

Including one that basically consisted of me, walking into a Bar and buying the Fellow a Beer, then walking away.

"Hardline Approach" is a pretty "Strong Statement" The opposite of which (for me) is interpreted "Coddling" Neither is really "Helping"

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Re: The Hardline Approach

Post by Greywolf » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:13 am

D'oh wrote: Exactly! Every "Successful 12th Step" I have made has started with the 3rd Step Prayer.
I am 100% successful in all my 12th Step work. =surprised Of course the people I've 12 stepped aren't quite so fortunate. =wink =wink
Sometimes I take myself a little too darn seriously.
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Re: The Hardline Approach

Post by Greywolf » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:23 pm

In 19xx I was trying to find my way in AA, and at every meeting there was this tough old American... Now I have nothing against Americans, and find them as friendly and decent as any other race,
Americans are not a "race."
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Brock
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Re: The Hardline Approach

Post by Brock » Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:24 pm

On Saturday in another thread you picked on something I said and commented - “Contrary to some opinion the purpose of AA is to stop drinking and stay sober...” Now you have a problem with a simple term; yes maybe Americans are not a ‘race’ in the traditional sense. But because I have had cause in this service position, to appeal to you in the past to follow our simple guidelines, you continue to pick at simple things, which everybody else either doesn't notice, or simply overlooks, which is the mature way to do things.

This picking at words I or any other member writes, is not what we expect from members here, especially oldtimers like yourself, who should be setting a better example.
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Re: The Hardline Approach

Post by Db1105 » Wed May 01, 2019 9:25 am

The "real" in "real alcoholic" is an adjective. A alcoholic is an alcoholic. real, unreal, total, raging, &%*$ing, or whatever adjective you want to put in there.

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Re: The Hardline Approach

Post by D'oh » Wed May 01, 2019 9:46 am

At times on my recovery journey, I find it enlightening to step back and take a look at what is it about my persona that produces a paricular reaction in other people.
I use to be ashamed, now I am amused.

Less than 25% of communication is prevailed by Words. That's is why I don't take Forums as Gospel.
Last edited by D'oh on Wed May 01, 2019 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Hardline Approach

Post by Greywolf » Wed May 01, 2019 3:21 pm

On Saturday in another thread you picked on something I said and commented - “Contrary to some opinion the purpose of AA is to stop drinking and stay sober...”
People coming here expect the Purpose of AA to be as is expressed in official AA literature and not the personal opinions of individuals -- in roles of service or not. Hearing or reading "staying sober is not the purpose of AA" or similar such words is for some long-timers is like hearing fingernails scrapping across a chalkboard.

Oldtimers such as myself see nothing wrong with pointing out such abuses. "staying sober is not the purpose of AA" may be why some people spend years coming to AA without stopping drinking. I hear such tales of woe in meetings and I read them here on this forum.

One person or a group of alcoholics saying "I don't come to AA to stop drinking or to stay sober" does not change the purpose of AA. I make the same or similar statements in the context of after one is recovered and has a few years of sobriety, attending meetings in not necessary to remain sober BUT there are many other valid reasons to go to meetings. Being there to "help others achieve sobriety" is a primary reason. The fellowship of other sober alcoholics is of importance of others.

Regardless or why people go to meetings, the purpose of AA does not change. To help alcoholics for whom meetings were inaccessible achieve sobriety was the originating purpose for writing the Big Book.
This picking at words I or any other member writes, is not what we expect from members here, especially oldtimers like yourself, who should be setting a better example.
Based on the number of times you have picked at my words, should I assume that expectation is reserved for members with important positions of service?
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Brock
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Re: The Hardline Approach

Post by Brock » Wed May 01, 2019 5:22 pm

"staying sober is not the purpose of AA"
I don’t know where I originally wrote this statement you claim I made, but I am confident it would have said something along the lines of AA not only being about staying sober, but also about treating the reasons we drink, this is something I say quite often. I would never say AA is not for staying sober, that would be stupid, and indicating with quotation marks that I said this is dishonest, and a further example of the type of behavior, which the moderators here have asked you to cease on several occasions.
Based on the number of times you have picked at my words, should I assume that expectation is reserved for members with important positions of service?


Firstly, there are no important positions of service, service at any level is important. Secondly, the only times I or any other moderator, have objected to or picked at your words, have been those where together with the other moderators, we have decided you are being rude to other members, or ignoring the simple guidelines in some other way. I have pleaded with you privately on many occasions, and hate to do so now publicly.The reason for moderators here is basically to remove spam, we hardly ever have to ask members to stick to the simple guidelines. You are the exception to this, and make what should be a simple service position, something which I very much wish I didn’t have to do.

I will not engage in this back and forth bickering publicly again, and apologize to the members for doing so now.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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